Many of the properties operated by housing associations across the UK are homes which were constructed as part of the post-war building boom.
Although these houses are usually structurally sound, the original 1950s entrance doors simply don’t meet modern standards of security and style.
When Newham Borough Council resolved to fight problems of vandalism and crime by upgrading the security and appearance of entrance doors in a selection of dwellings in the Canning Town area, they turned to Masterdor.
Revitalising Canning Town
The London-based Council manages over 2,000 properties within the Canning Town area alone.
Canning Town forms part of the Docklands, an area in which most of the buildings suffered heavy bombing during the war, and were subsequently rebuilt.
In 1996 the Borough was successful in securing funding through the Government led SRB (Single Regeneration Budget) for a joint financial venture aimed at regenerating the southern part of the Canning Town area.
Three phases of regeneration
This area, which had become run down over the years, was divided into three sections. LBN Building Design is responsible for refurbishing all the estates within the three phases.
Ron Draper, senior surveyor from LBN says, “Most properties still had their original brown hardwood doors installed, which were ill-fitting and insufficiently secure. They looked very institutional and drab in appearance and the area had become vandalised.
Whichever doors we chose, they needed to be both secure by design, and able to vary the colour scheme at the estate, giving the properties a lift.”
Masterdor won the contract after fitting a sample door, which impressed the council and tenants alike. Ron Draper continues, “The sample door was superb. Initially, we were considering replacing the existing doors with our conventional specification of hardwood doors and frames. However, the Masterdor sample was installed as a pre-sealed, made-to-measure unit. This system caused very little disruption, was more cost-effective and avoided any compromise in the durability of the door. Combined with the high specification of the Masterdor products, the doors seemed to offer a complete solution.”
Made to measure
Masterdor products are made-to-measure which avoids the need to cut into the door leaf or pack the frame, regardless of the mason’s openings.
The width of the styles and rails remains constant, as any variation in the size is accommodated by varying the dimensions of the feature panels and glazing.
Masterdor always looks in proportion and will perform in every aspect, regardless of its size and configuration.
The unique Masterdor laminated door unit is prefabricated with integral weather seals. It is then fitted into a PVC-U reinforced frame which has the option of hardwood facings.
This combination provides a fire-rated performance and includes a multi-locking point mechanism with quick release in case of emergencies. The doors are pre-finished with a micro-porous paint to the colour of the specifier’s choice.
“The combination met our security requirements and satisfied our demand for freedom with colour and design. The properties look so much brighter!” says Ron Draper.
“In addition, the door leaf has minimal movement and therefore will not stick. This reduces maintenance and provides an effective barrier to draughts and moisture ingress.”
A small door opening, a narrow hall, and a staircase with a stair lift posed a tricky access problem for The London Borough of Harrow Council. A little bit of lateral thinking, and some clever design by Masterdor ltd, solved the problem and allowed the occupant to remain in his home.
The London Borough of Harrow Council was approached by an occupational therapist to solve an access problem posed by a narrow door opening with a staircase immediately opposite. The occupant of the flat above a shop in Stanmore, Harrow, had become unable to climb the stairs without great discomfort, and required a stair lift. However, there was insufficient clearance between the door, when opened, and the foot of the stairs, to allow the stair lift to remain in position at the bottom and the door to be opened.
Several solutions were considered but many involved major building work or an outward opening door, which would not only have compromised on security but would have been a hazard for people using the busy pavement outside.
The simple solution was to fit a door with two leaves, and hinge both sides, creating a standard door leaf of approximately 600mm and a fully secured slave leaf of 300mm.
When open, the wider leaf allows plenty of room to enter the property with the stair lift in its correct position at the bottom of the stairs. Both leaves can be opened at the same time to allow a full 900mm access.
Because of the unique way Masterdors are produced, it was possible to make this kind of split in the door without affecting its integrity and subsequent security. Each door is created from scratch, and made to measure for each application. This means that when structural changes are made, a standard door is not being modified, but a completely bespoke door is created.
Alun Jones, adaptations manager at London Borough of Harrow Council, commented, “Adaptations concerning entrances are so often about lowering thresholds or widening door openings, but this posed a real problem. Initial investigation told us that the door was integral to finding the solution that would allow the occupant to continue to comfortably live in his home.
Having worked with Masterdor ltd in the past, we knew that help was at hand.”
The versatility of the Masterdor means that it can be the solution to many access problems. Masterdors are available up to 1150mm in width and with a threshold of just 15mm. Masterdors can also be fitted with a range of door furniture including, extended lever handles, thumb-turns, self closing hinges, electronic release devices, wide angled viewers, identification slots, vision panels and grab rails.
The company provides the largest range of Secured by Design door-sets, including the Masterdor double door. Masterdors exceeded PAS23/24 BSi tests, and fire-check versions have also been successfully tested, and achieved BS476 Part 22.
Mike Hudson, director of Masterdor ltd, comments: “Because our design capabilities extend to every component of our door-set, we are very well equipped to respond to the needs of our clients. If a client has a particular problem with any part of our door-set, we will work with them to modify the model and solve the problem, rather than just passing the buck to our suppliers. This constant evolution has ensured that we have always kept abreast of changes in security performance requirements and so our products actually exceed the current standard.”
Client The London Borough of Harrow Council
Location Stanmore, Harrow
Door System Masterdor ltd
With the social housing sector managing large numbers of properties, sourcing a door system flexible enough in design terms to suit a variety of property styles can be a problem.
Finding a door system that is also low maintenance, secure and which offers improved thermal efficiency can prove even more of a challenge.
That is the situation The London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Council faced when specifying products for the £140 million Shape Up For Homes project, one of the largest and most important housing improvement programmes in the UK.
The seven year programme (now called ‘Capital Works Group’ as a result of amalgamating with the Major Repairs Allowance programme) involved the installation of around 30,000 external doors on houses and low-rise flats, as well as the replacement
of windows, roof maintenance and external works. The sheer variety of Barking & Dagenham’s properties is reflected in the door types that needed to be supplied.
Fire check doors for flats, feature frames with PVCu sidelights and panels, hardwood ‘all round’ glazed frames, double glazed and period style panel doors, all in a variety of colours.
A spokesman for the Council said, “We have a huge range of properties and felt that some of them required a particular style of door, so we needed a door system that would be flexible and not force us to compromise.” A way to meet all of these demands was found when Masterdor ltd invited the Council to submit their own designs, which they would then translate into a door model featuring Masterdor’s high specification, using the CAD system.
The spokesman continues, “Masterdor ltd’s ability to offer us a range of styles at very little extra cost, combined with the high specification of the Masterdor products, made the doors the ideal solution.”
Previously, blue painted wooden doors had been used in all the properties, but these raised maintenance issues due to the high cost of any repair work made necessary by movement in the hardwood. As the doors aged, they had to be treated each season, which was unfeasible. Bespoke Masterdors consist of an engineered timber door leaf fitted into a reinforced PVCu frame. The door leaf has minimal movement and therefore will not stick which reduces maintenance and provides an effective barrier to draughts and moisture ingress.
Masterdor ltd’s trainers ensured that the council’s installers understood the fitting procedure and could show tenants how to operate the locking system. The three point locks and high quality cylinder mechanism, combined with the sturdy frame to masonry fixings, create a door-set that is resistant to burglary and vandalism. According to the Council spokesman, the doors have proved a huge hit with both the Council and its tenants, “Our tenants were offered a selection of front door designs available in a wide spectrum of colours, allowing them to add character to their homes.
Overall, the Masterdors have improved the aesthetic appeal of the properties, whilst also saving us money on maintenance.”
Client / Location The London Borough of Barking & Dagenham
Project Team Shape Up For Homes Project
Project Management Consultants Schal International Management Consultants
Door System Masterdor ltd
Specification SP SR UG FD30
Finding a door and sidescreen system which is low maintenance, has a high security performance and offers a choice of styles and colours is a challenge facing local authority specifiers across Scotland.
Masterdor ltd has combined its high quality bespoke doorset with the leading brand Sheerframe window system to create an extremely adaptable solution. Masterdors fitted in contracts awarded by The Moray Council have proved the point.
A rural authority which operates around 7,300 properties located in small villages across the Moray region, The Moray Council needed to replace doors in some 300 homes at estates in Rothes and Keith. Varying in age from 30 to 100 years old, the properties are built to a high standard and remain a valuable source of affordable housing for local authority tenants.
The door and sidescreen configuration featured in the properties was popular with the tenants due to the increased natural light it admits to the hall area - but The Moray Council found itself struggling to find a suitable supplier.
Dougie McIntyre, Capital Programmes Manager at the Moray Council comments, “The properties were originally fitted with timber screens and panelled doors. Though we had kept up a maintenance programme and the homes still looked relatively smart, time had told on the doors and they had become ineffective in terms of energy efficiency. We operate a “Warm and Dry” policy, aiming to do all we can to stop drafts and heat loss, thus helping tenants to keep their heating bills down. Because of the long term maintenance implications, we were reluctant to specify timber doors and screens again but the other systems we looked at were extremely limited in terms of style and colours. It was a real dilemma.”
The Moray Council found a solution when local fabricator Ergon Windows of Inverurie introduced the Masterdor system.
The Masterdor door and sidescreen system has been designed precisely for refurbishment projects.
Consisting of a high quality, engineered timber door, fitted into a PVC frame, the door has all the energy efficiency of a wooden door leaf, without the weather-related maintenance problems.
For the sidescreen application, Masterdor combined its doorset with the PVC Sheerframe 70 window profile which is one of the most specified windows in the UK public sector market. Fully reversible for easy cleaning, the window is designed to match traditional British windows and has optimum weather performance and high levels of energy efficiency.
Sheerframe has a wide variety of flexible window designs, appropriate for any application. The choice in styles available to The Moray Council and other public specifiers make the brand a perfect partner to the flexible Masterdor system.
Because each door and its side screen is made to measure, the Masterdor system was able to offer an extremely flexible approach to the varying sizes and requirements on the estate. This allowed The Moray Council to offer its tenants a choice of styles and colours which could be applied to each individual home without compromise in specification, style or mobility access requirements.
Comments Dougie McIntyre, “Offering tenants a choice is important to us. Before the refurbishment, the doors had been a mixture of dull “council coloured” orange and beige. Masterdor printed leaflets for us, which were put through every tenants door. They offered a choice of two styles – one with glazing and one without - which were available in cherry red, midblue, empire green or white. We were impressed that, regardless of the dimensions of the aperture, we were able to retain the same hardware and that the panels and stiles remained constant.”
The properties at Rothes and Keith remained occupied whilst the refurbishment took place and Ergon liaised with each household to arrange a suitable day and time for replacement. A team of two Ergon installers completed approximately 15 doors and screens per week as well as replacing the back door of each property with the standard Masterdor security product.
According to Dougie McIntyre, tenants on the estate have found the doors a great improvement. He comments, “The doors have given the estate a real face-lift as well as improved security and insulation levels inside the homes. We have had extremely positive feedback from tenants and have already specified another 300 Masterdors at an estate in Forres”.
Client The Moray Council
Location Rothes & Keith
Contractor Ergon Profiles Ltd
Door Systems Masterdor ltd
Specification 7P 15P M4X Sheerframe 70
Masterdor ltd first received its Secured by Design* licence covering 49 door styles in November 2000. Since hen 12 more door styles have been added, making an incredible total of 61.
In addition, the Masterdor fire door range has been successfully tested to PAS23 and PAS24 (which meet the Secured by Design standard) and the company can now offer a Secured by Design tested range of high performance double doors.
Whilst most other door manufacturers have had to modify and upgrade locking mechanisms and panel configurations to earn the licence, no changes were made to the Masterdors when they were tested. Even the standard Masterdor security doors breezed through the tests.
The wide range of public sector clients who have specified Masterdor over the years due to its security pedigree and good looks, welcomed the news of the licensing of both the additional styles and the range of double doors, as confirmation of the high security standards that can be expected from Masterdors.
Wolverhampton Council, which owns around 30,000 properties, found Masterdor ltd to be a valuable ally in its fight to quash the anti-social behaviour and vandalism that is rife in council housing estates across the country.
The Council began replacing old wooden doors on low-rise blocks of flats in a high-risk security area, in order to comply with Part B of the Building Regulations, which states that fire doors with a fire resistance of 30 minutes should be specified.
Masterdor Security Plus FD30 fire doors were installed on 550 properties. Mark Hadley, senior architectural technician, at Wolverhampton Council said, “In the three years we have been specifying Masterdors, we have not had a single maintenance call-out and many of the problems relating to the security and aesthetics of council flat entrance doors have been reduced.”
Delaware Communications Plc, the contractor responsible for fitting the FD30 doors in the flats, has since recommended Masterdor to other local councils and housing associations in the area.
FD30 Masterdors meet the requirements of BS476 part 22 and are made from a unique combination of metal, timber and intumescent tapes applied to the frame, locks and letter-plate to stem the flow of flames and smoke.
A unique approach
According to director, Mike Hudson, Masterdor ltd has always adopted a unique attitude to door manufacture, taking responsibility for the entire door-set rather than relying on assorted suppliers to provide and care for components. He comments:
“Because our design capabilities extend to every component of our door-set, we are very well equipped to respond to the needs of clients. If a client has a particular problem with any part of our door-set, we will work with them to modify the model and solve the problem, rather than just passing the buck to our suppliers. This constant evolution has ensured that we have always kept abreast of changes in security performance requirements and so our products actually exceed the current standard.”
Unrivalled security performance
A Masterdor is fitted with a three or four point lock system. The door has hinges which feature holes for fixings that secure the door and frame directly to the masonry.
A latch and deadbolt provide extra strength at the traditionally vulnerable central point. To facilitate egress in case of fire, doors can be fitted with thumb turns so that residents can lock and unlock doors easily from inside without using a key.
On the made to measure feature of all Masterdors, Mike commented: "Sizing doors is becoming the Number One issue for door suppliers, many of whom cannot meet Specifiers' requirements. Any door or door set of pre-determined size runs into trouble when it has to be cut down or the frame packed in order to fit the wall opening. Security and aesthetics are both compromised. Door openings should be maximised with doors that fit and are made in styles made in proportion to their dimensions rather than simply making it fit the relative hole on site."
Wide range of styles
Masterdor ltd’s ability to combine maximum security performance with traditional styling accounts for much of Masterdor’s popularity in the public sector.
The wide range of designs available ensures that social landlords can continue to offer residents a choice, not only by way of colour and panel configurations, but even glazed options. One of the Masterdors witness tested by the Secured by Design team was a door with a 70% glazed area, proving that specifiers no longer have to accept minimally glazed doors, badly lit corridors and gloomy entrance areas as necessary partners to security.
Accreditation Secured by Design
Awarded by ACPO Crime Prevention Initiatives Ltd
Number of door styles 61
Registration number SBD/MD/00/00